Colin Clark came to Alberta from New Zealand late in 1942 to train
in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). After completing service flying training at
No. 3 Service Flying Training School (SFTS), Calgary, he went
on to Flight Instructor School (FIS) in Vulcan. The
following excerpt highlights just a few of the many fond
memories Colin Clark has from his time in
have a kaleidoscope of memories from my stay in Calgary:
my first Canadian Christmas at the Patterson's home on rolling
hillsides near the Bow River; Jimmie's Corner on 8th Avenue,
where we waited in the warmth of the drugstore for the
streetcar to take us back to camp; a weekend at Banff where
we tried cross-country skiing on Lake Louise trail and
finished in a snowdrift at the bottom of a slope; an ice-hockey game where the Newzies and Aussies provided an interlude
in a contest using broomsticks and a basketball; the
Hotel, where we held our Wings Banquet and a group of us,
foolishly, tried unsuccessfully to hang a skull and crossbones
flag from the mast (we were more successful with the flag
on the parade ground back at camp, but fortunately someone
more sober removed it before it was seen by the
I remember, too, the street cars with seats heated by pipes
connected to a small boiler stove which the driver stoked
from time to time. And, there was the visit we paid to the
Dinosaur Park where my good pal Dick Fergusson posed for
my camera while apparently being eaten by a manmade concrete
monster. Sadly, it may have been prophetic, for Fergie was
later killed by another manmade monster—the war over Europe.
I remember little of my stay at Vulcan. We saw very little
of the townsfolk, as the aerodrome
four miles from town, and we had no reason to visit.
I do recall, however, how I enjoyed flying the small, single-engine
Cornell, which was fully acrobatic, although rather underpowered.
The station was jokingly nicknamed "Vulcatraz"
or "Vultures gulch". Those who trained there were
said to have been "Vulcanised". My diary tells
me that our passing-out ceremony was attended by the Earl
of Athlone, who was Governor General of Canada, but I have
only a hazy recollection of his presence.
It all happened nearly 60 years ago. I often thought that
during the intervening years I would like to revisit
Calgary, but I doubt that I would recognize much in the
mega-city that it has grown into. Perhaps it is better just
to hold on to one's memories of what once used to be.